Combined ambiguous losses

To supporters and professionals

When supporting those who have been experiencing ambiguous loss, it may be important to sort out just “what the person has lost”.


For example, let’s say one is forced to evacuate from their hometown due to a nuclear accident. What has that person lost?

You might consider the following.

  • They lost the house they were living in.
  • They lost the family’s peaceful company in the house where they used to live.
  • They lost their garden, which they had so carefully cultivated.
  • They lost their neighbors who they used to casually chat with.
  • They lost a life in which they lived with their family and felt a sense of satisfaction and happiness.


There may be much more.


Dr. Boss says, “People can’t grieve until they are clear about what they have lost. Working with them to identify the numerous losses they have experienced may cause them stress, but it can conversely lighten their burden and reduce that stress. Through such work, supporters are able to work through their grief.